Following three albums and a series of flamboyant concepts and alter-egos, Marina took a hiatus to figure herself out. “The feeling of not knowing what you want to do with your life is terrifying,” the Welsh artist said in an Apple Music interview. “I’d never had that before because I had the luxury of being very focused for 10 years.” Having dropped ‘and the Diamonds’ from her stage name, Marina fully recharged for Love + Fear – an honest recount of the insecurities she has battled with since the release of Froot in 2015.
Dividing the album into two parts, Marina explores psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s theory that humans possess two primary emotions: love and fear. She’s previously adopted various personas (the housewife, the idle teen, the homewrecker from Electra Heart) whereas this album’s concept is simple and, perhaps, a little obvious. On Life Is Strange, she embraces anxiety as a universal experience, epitomising the earnest tone of the album that’s replaced her sense of lyrical eccentricity (“Ten silver spoons coming after me,” she sang on her brilliantly weird 2009 single Mowgli’s Road). Throughout her career Marina has been a bold pop experimentalist – a vocal gymnast who’s dabbled in electro-pop and disco – yet the epic piano balladry of Love + Fear makes it her most conventional sounding album to date.
But while Love + Fear isn’t a classic campy Marina offering, it’s full of warm feelings and it’s a truly emotive account of her troubles. “Finally I feel the fear is gone,” she sings on conclusive track Soft To Be Strong. Marina has always danced to her own tune and long term fans will be pleased that she’s speaking her truth.